Sunday, January 12, 2014

Lessons in Life

I had a couple of experiences that I wanted to record before I forgot them.  Both of them happened this weekend.  There is more to the stories than I want to record, so this is for me!!
The first one came on Saturday.  It was my birthday.  I was cleaning the toilet.  I thought about what an inglorious job that was to be doing on my birthday.  I was doing laundry, cleaning the house, vacuuming.  It was Saturday after all.  But cleaning the toilet?  Where was Reed?  Why was I left doing this on my birthday?  Reed was in the lab working.  It was Saturday.  Normally, this is the work I do on a Saturday, but it was my birthday.  Quickly on the heels of these thoughts came thoughts of my dear nephew, Kendall, who had passed away on Christmas day.  I thought of his journal entries that his father had shared at his funeral about choosing to be happy as he faced death.  I quickly realized that the jobs I was doing had to be done regardless of whether it was my birthday or not.  Even if I did not do them that day, they would still have to be done.  Reed was working because we had missed days in the lab.  In the last week, I had traveled to Utah to be with family for the Memorial Service for Kendall there.  A couple of days later, I flew to Kansas City, MO to be there with Josh and Staci as they were sealed in the temple.  It was a wonderful time and I was so grateful that I had the means to be able to do those things.  I also knew that in a few more days I would be flying with Reed to the east coast.  He had his yearly long range planning meetings with the Clay Minerals Society and we usually take a week and stay at the beach house. These are huge blessings to me.  I am very grateful for them.  I had talked with my kids.  Reed and I were planning on going out to dinner and a movie.  So in that moment, I chose to be happy.  I chose not to be grumpy that I was cleaning a toilet on my birthday and instead to be happy.  I thought of Kendall and I was happy that in this small way I chose to be happy!!
The second experience came during Relief Society today.  We were discussing the lesson about Heavenly Father from Joseph F. Smith.  He talked about how our Heavenly Father is real and that he knows us and cares about us personally.  I suddenly made a connection between that and an experience that Jackie and Zach had the day before.  The 2 older boys were attending a birthday party at a pool.  Shortly after they got there, Kayden, who is 6 years old got into water that was way over his head.  He can swim, but being only 6 he doesn't swim very well.  He realized that he was in water that was too deep and he began to panic.  As he panicked he began to flail.  He was really struggling.  The lifeguard did not notice him as he was distracted by so many kids in the pool.  Zach didn't even think about it.  He saw his son in trouble and he jumped the fence that separated him from the spectators and the pool deck and then jumped into the pool.  Clothes and all.  He sacrificed his phone.  All to rescue a son who was panicking in water that was over his head.  This story came flooding into my mind as I realized the parallel between this and how my Heavenly Father loves me.  Sometimes I get in over my head and I panic and I begin to flail.  He is always there, even when the world may be distracted and not notice me.  He is there to lift me up and keep my head above the water and lead me to safer ground.  He does not hesitate, he does not care what the sacrifice is, he just jumps in.  Thank you Zach for reminding me of how much a father loves his children.  How much my Father loves me.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

The Ups and Downs of Life

The roller coaster ride has continued into the new year.  I have just recently returned from spending 2 weeks with Jackie and her family.  My sweet daughter just endured a rare form of an ectopic pregnancy.  This was embedded in the neck of her womb and into her c-section scar.  There was no chance of survival for this tiny baby and Jackie's life was in serious danger.  If she started to bleed at all, we had to act very quickly.  My heart ached for what she had to go through after trying for over a year to get pregnant for one last time.  She finally responded to the drugs (it took 2 rounds) and endured blood tests and ultrasounds every other day but the hormone levels have finally dropped.  I am grateful that I am in a situation where I could drop everything and get to  her home quickly to be of help.  I am grateful for a loving ward (that they have only been in for 6 months) that responded so quickly.  By the time I arrive just a few hours after getting the text from her husband, meals had been arranged for the week, multitudes of prayers were being offered in her behalf, a fast was called for, offers for childcare had appeared and a tender call from a bishop to check on me as her mother.  That and the realization that previous miscarriages and problems had provided a history of early ultrasounds (much earlier than normal) and a response to a little bleeding that caught this early and saved Jackie's life.  If she had felt symptoms it would have been too late.  For now we mourn the loss but are thankful for healthy outcomes and pray that the opportunity to bring another one into their family will happen at some future date.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

A Day of Tears

Yesterday was a hard day for me.  It was my mother's birthday.  She would have been 90.  After more than 20 years I still miss her.  I went to the cemetery with my dad where he too shed some tears and told me it doesn't get any easier and he has been thinking about her a lot lately.
Then came the news that a dear friend was in the hospital for emergency bypass surgery.  He is my age.  Reality check.
Then the shootings.  Got a text from daughter that her friends lived there and their daughter was "unaccounted for".  The rest of the day was spent in tears as the reality became apparent that young Emilie was a victim.  I know these people.  This is my grandson's little friend. They had been to my home.  My heart just ached.  I know the Plan of Salvation.  I looked at so many random things.  The family had recently moved there to this particular town, she attended that particular school, was in that particular room.  Her grandfather, Alyssa's dad had died just a couple of months earlier in a freak bike accident in Utah.  One article I read mentioned that Emmie was probably sitting on her grandfather's lap and he would hold her and help her.  My heart aches for the parents who must now go through this life without their daughter.  How just one moment alters everything.
These past few weeks I have been immersed in our church's annual Nativity Festival.  I am the director of this event.  It lasts for 5 days.  This year we displayed 840 nativities and had about 4100 people who attended.  It is a huge undertaking and there are many long hours spent to make something of this magnitude happen.  But my heart has focused on one particular Nativity that impressed me.  A lady from the community displayed for the first time last year.  She and her husband had heard about the event and she decided to display these wonderful, beautiful elephants and camels with wise men on them.  They are ornate and beautiful.  This last year her husband passed away suddenly.  In Colorado for a celebration of life for him, she found another Nativity that she wanted to purchase with the express purpose of displaying it at our festival.  She was in tears as we helped her set it up.  It was a large Nativity and on each figure there were words that to me expressed what each one brought to the story.  Mary was Faith.  What faith she had to be the mother of the Son of God.  Joseph was Hope.  How he must have hoped to be a good father to this special child that was in his keeping.  The angel was Joy.  The news of such great joy was their calling.  The wise men intrigued me with the words that were to describe them.  One was Patience, one Peace and one Purpose.  I have pondered those words to describe them so much.  I realized that for me it symbolized what I need to offer as my gifts to the Savior.  I need to be patient.  I need to bring peace.  I need to have purpose of heart and follow Him.  After yesterday I wept as I realized that as much as I try to bring my offerings to the Lord, that He in turn blesses me with the very gifts I strive to offer Him.  Yesterday I needed His peace.  I need His patience as I try to understand, comprehend and help my grandson grasp what happened to his friend.  I need His purpose as I go forward with how the day's events have altered me.  I think of the scripture in Mosiah which says: "And now, in the first place, he hath created you, and granted unto you your lives, for which ye are indebted unto him.
And secondly, he doth require that ye should do as he hath commanded you; for which if ye do, he doth immediately bless you; and therefore he hath paid you,  And ye are still indebted unto him, and are, and will be, forever and ever; therefore, of what have ye to boast?"  Mosiah 2:23-24
How grateful I am for the gifts He brings to me in my time of need and always.  May all of us have the True Spirit of Christmas and celebrate the life of Him who can heal us and make us better.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

I'm BACK!!!!!!

I am finally back.  I have thought about updating this blog for so long, but other things keep getting in my way.  It has been an incredibly difficult and yet exciting summer.  I will give a quick rundown and add a few pictures.  I'm not promising anything, but I hope to keep things updated a little better.  I am heading into a very busy time for me.  Our stake (a group of church congregations) holds a Nativity Festival every year and I am the director of it.  It goes for 5 days and we have about 4000 people who come through from all over the community.  Well here goes:
April/May - I "injured" my knee (the "good" one).  I was training for another 1/2 marathon walk when my knee began to hurt.  Suddenly something felt like it popped and then I couldn't put my weight on it.  Thru a long process I finally had an MRI which showed a "big" tear in the meniscus.  I had surgery on May 4th and they couldn't find any tear.
May 26th - Josh married Staci.  The weather cooperated and we had a beautiful ceremony and reception here at the house.  We LOVE Staci.  The 2 of them are back at BYU going to school.  We got to have them live with us for the summer as they both worked here!!

June 1 - Reed ended up in the hospital.  He had felt that something was wrong and decided to pursue testing of his prostate.  He had had a PCA-3 test which is a little more advanced than a PSA test.  A normal level is 30 or below and his was over 100.  He went ahead with a biopsy.  Unfortunately things went "bad".  Routine procedures weren't followed and Reed became septic.  That means an infection had entered his blood stream.  His fever shot up to 106.6 and miraculously I remained calm and informed him that we were going to the hospital.  I felt bad for Josh and Staci who had just returned from their honeymoon and I had to wake them in the middle of the night to tell them we were going to the ER.  Reed recovered after about 4 days in the hospital.  By then we had a diagnosis of prostate cancer.  We then helped Jackie and Jessica move as they pooled their resources and rented a house together.
The next month was spent visiting with doctors and doing a TON of research.  We had time to make a decision and to participate in our vacation plans.

July - Reed and I took a cruise to Alaska with Reed's sisters and their spouses.  It was a beautiful and unique trip which we really enjoyed.  My knee wasn't doing so well so we made plans to travel back east to visit Reed's old college roommate who is an orthopedic surgeon.  He administered a PRP injection.  That stands for a Platelet Rich Plasma injection.  They use my own blood and spin it down and then re-inject it into my knee.  It helped with pain and swelling and then I returned to doing physical therapy to try and get movement back.
August - We took our annual vacation back to the beach.  This year Reed drove back with Jackie and her boys visiting Yellowstone, Nauvoo and other places as they traveled.  The boys had such a good time and were so good.  The rest of us flew back and we all enjoyed a long week at the beach minus Zach and Jayme who were busy with school.
September - Reed had surgery to remove his prostate.  We found a doctor in Portland whom we really liked.  We discovered he was a member of our church as we did research on him and his qualifications.  Funny thing was that when the surgeon came in to talk to me after surgery he kept looking at Jackie strangely.  After I introduced her and Jayme to him he stopped and simply said "nice talk on Sunday Jackie"!!  He is a member of Jackie's ward!!
Since then we have been helping Reed recover, making trips to visit the doctor in Portland and gearing up for this year's Nativity Festival.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Spring/Winter Break

So we had a power glitch when I was trying to post and it messed up the whole format, so I am trying again!! Spring break starts next week and we have snow! LOTS of snow. Don't get me wrong, it is pretty, but late March? We don't normally get that much snow in Oregon and definitely not 6 inches by noon and still snowing, especially in late March. I am supposed to be working on getting the yard and garden in shape for another wedding reception in May (more on that in another post) and I am falling way behind!! Oh well, not much I can do about it. We have prepared for a power failure since it is such a wet snow. Who knows, we may get the 7 to 10 inches forecast with a possible 15 above 700 feet. Guess where we sit? So one very busy day suddenly had a cleared schedule.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

What I Am Doing These Days

I have been very lax about my blogging lately. I have tried to keep up with most of you, but I have been consumed by other things. Besides having kids and grandkids around whenever I can, I have been working hard on a calling (an assignment within out church)that I was given last spring. I am the director of our Corvallis Nativity Festival. This is a community event that has been hosted at our church for 17 years. Last year it was held for 3 days and about 3,000 people came through. This year we have expanded to 5 full days. We have up to 3 concerts in the evening where other church groups and community groups perform for about 1/2 hour. On Sunday evening, we broadcast the annual Christmas Devotional featuring the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. This year on Monday we are having our first ever community Messiah Sing In. Our theme this year is "Come Unto Bethlehem" where your are transported to the streets of Bethlehem with tents and shopkeepers and costumed people. We have live background music going on during the display and all the nativities are displayed within the design. We have between 600 and 800 nativities that are displayed.
Needless to say, this is a HUGE project and it has been consuming me. This year we are doing a big push with social media. You can check out our web site at or go on Facebook and type in Corvallis Nativity Festival and go to our page. We even have a couple of YouTube videos that are posted for people to see what we are doing.
I promise to get back to what is going on in my life after this month. But right now, I have TONS to do!!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Last Gasp of Summer 1/2 Marathon

I hope everyone understands that I am not trying to brag, but this is a big deal to me. A couple of weeks ago I completed my second 1/2 marathon. I walk, I don't and can't run. It is a big deal for me because 3 1/2 years ago I had a total knee replacement on the right knee. In addition, one year after that I had major reconstructive surgery to rebuild my left foot and ankle. I had what is a called a deep tendon transfer to re-stabilize and realign my foot and ankle. I spent nearly a year (before and after surgery) in a walking boot and in physical therapy. So for me to walk 13.1 miles is quite an accomplishment. This year I competed for the second time. Not only did I finish, but according to race results, I shaved 27 minutes off of my time from last year. I completed the race this year in just over 3 hours. I consistently walk at a pace of about 15 minutes per mile and I knew I was really pushing during this race. My friend Lori walked with me, along with Reed and Jessica. My son-in-law ran the race. It is a beautiful race on the Oregon coast that takes you up along the town's water storage with trees and ponds on both sides of the road, along a nature trail to the beach and then about 1/2 of the race is right on the beach. Jessica and I were true walkers while Lori and Reed did a little jogging. This has become for me a huge way in which to compel myself to keep active and try and stay in shape after these surgeries. It has helped me to be more active and hopefully to prolong the life of the left knee which is having the same problem as my right. I know that eventually I will have to have that one replaced too, but for now, I will keep walking.
Please excuse my race attire. I get very warm while I walk!